Large shipments of pigeon peas, a crucial food staple in India, have been halted at ports in Mozambique due to stalled export permissions from customs officials. Industry sources say at least 150,000 tonnes of peas await clearance for export to India despite repeated requests from sellers over recent weeks.
The unexpected shipment delays have caused pigeon pea prices in India to surge nearly 10% over the past two months. India relies heavily on imports, mainly from Mozambique, to meet demand during the October to December festival season before the new domestic crop arrives in January.
Mozambique providers say they have met all legal export requirements but customs is withholding approval for unknown reasons. The supply issues come as India braces for lower yields from its upcoming pigeon pea harvest due to poor rainfall.
Some exporters in Mozambique have managed limited clearance to ship 50,000 tonnes to India. But the majority of stock continues facing long waits in port warehouses, accruing hefty storage fees.
In October, India expressed concerns on the stalled pigeon pea trade during a meeting with Mozambique’s high commissioner. However, assurances that steps were underway to ease exports have not yet materialized.
Sources in India believe Mozambique is intentionally exploiting the supply crunch facing India in the coming months. With Mozambique accounting for over half of its pigeon pea imports, India faces rising food security and inflation risks from the export delays.